The Perfect Marathon Training Plan

marathon training plan

If you want to change your life through a marathon an effective marathon training plan is a must.

If something does not challenge you, it would never change you, and when a person takes a marathon as a challenge, it can help you change your life for the better.

marathon training plan

A marathon is one of the most enjoyable but physically demanding sports out there. To be the best and professional in this sport, one must follow a proper marathon training plan.

Length of a Marathon

A marathon’s length is about 26.2 miles or 42.2 kilometers.

How to Start Marathon Training?

At the beginning of your marathon training plan, first make sure you consult your physician and be sure that you are fit for a marathon and then you must know about various elements like:

marathon training plans

  • You Must Know Your Limits:

Always make sure you do not exceed your limits while training for a marathon. A distance of 26.2 miles is a long way to go, which causes a high risk of injury.

  • Take an Early Start:

Prefer to start your marathon training plan at least 4-5 months before your dream upcoming marathon.

Sometimes we underestimate the length of the marathon and go for it in very little time without sufficient training. This overconfidence is the main reason for injury in this field.

So, prefer a longer time of practice with a proper run of 20-30 miles every day for almost 2 months.

  • Take Small Steps at Start:

Do not rush into running for 20 or 30 miles at the beginning of your marathon training plan. Take your baby steps at the start by running shorter races of 3ks or 5ks. Build your proper stamina, take a healthy and balanced diet and maintain good health.

marathon training plan

Selecting Your First Marathon

Marathons are not an easy run. So before running for marathons prefer to run some shorter races it would help you to boost your stamina and willpower.

Be a part of various marathon programs to get a wider picture of what a marathon is.

While choosing a marathon, you must consider your comfort and what factor would boost your energy, willpower, and confidence.

marathon training plan

Marathon when chosen near your home gives you the advantage of running on familiar roads and avoids any risk or surprise factor.

Running at a destination marathon might give your energy a boost as it can raise your motivation to prove yourself and shine at a new place.

The excitement of running in a new place can even give you an advantage in your willpower and make you give your everything to the sport.

Marathon Training Plan

Your perfect marathon training plan is made up of different types of running courses. These courses are divided into four different categories:

marathon training plan

  • Base Running Capacity

When you begin your marathon training plan, the very first step is to make your base running capacity. Mostly a marathon training plan is for 12-20 weeks.

In this period the runner follows a proper training schedule of running so that the runner can build a weekly mileage of up to 50 miles till the end of its training.

Follow a proper training guide of around three to five runs per week. It would help you to build proper stamina for your run.

When you are building your base running capacity make sure you do not increase weekly mileage more than 10 percent each week.

  • Long Run

The very next step in your marathon training plan after you build your base running capacity is that you must focus on your long run pace.

A long run must be done in the interval of every 7-10 days under which you must increase your long run by one or two miles.

After few weeks come back a few miles so that you do not face any serious injury. Usually, all the marathon training plans last a long run of 20 miles.

So that extra 6 miles comes at the time of the marathon because of your proper training schedule proper body health.

  • Speed Work

Something extra or optional will be a beneficiary only not a burden or a mistake. So, speed work is that extra or optional element in your perfect training program.

It helps in increasing your workout capacity and makes the most difficult runs a piece of cake for you.

The best and popular forms of speed work are intervals and tempo run.

Intervals:  Interval run is about sprinting a short distance with your maximum speed and then slow jogging or walking in between and then continuing the same speed.

E.g., running 4 miles in which 1 or 2 miles in full speed and walking or slow jogging in rest of the distance.

Tempo Runs: Tempo runs are generally longer than interval runs. If an interval run is a maximum of 4 miles then a tempo run would lie between 4-10 miles.

This workout is about running at a challenging speed but a sustainable pace. It helps in teaching our body and brain to work at a challenging pace but with sustainability.

Do not forget to warm up before your run and relax after it ends.

  • Rest and Recovery

Rest is an essential part of the marathon training plan. No one wants an injury just before the big day. So, rest days are a must in any marathon training program.

Rest days mean no running at all. Still, if a person is not able to resist doing any activity then go for any cross-training like cycling, swimming, lifting weights, yoga, and anything except for high-impact training like running.

marathon training plan

Before your big day make sure you take proper rest and do not run to your full strength. Make sure you reduce your pace and scale back your overall mileage and difficulty of your runs.

Fueling And Hydration While Your Run

marathon training plan


It is probably seen when runners hit the maximum mark in a marathon, they get exhausted, and as it is said they hit the wall.

There is a limit to the storage of glycogen in your body. The glycogen is the most important source of energy in your body while a marathon.

The level of glycogen is the energy source that mainly gets decreases while your marathon. And when it happens you will your muscles being heavy and tired.

To make sure you do not hit the wall at the end of the marathon take some of the energy drinks or chews or glucose while you run a marathon.

A few pieces of fruits and energy can also work for your body. Make sure you take in approx. 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour while running a marathon for more than two hours.

Caution: Make sure you test all the energy elements while practicing for the marathon. It would make you aware of how the energy elements would react inside your body while you run your marathon.


Mostly all the marathons provide water stations. But if you want you can even carry your water on race day through a hydration pack or belt.

Make sure you practice before your big day with your belt. Do not try any new things on your marathon day. It might cost you your win.

Do not hydrate yourself because of your madness to win the marathon. Health comes first, and no one likes an injury with would not let you enjoy your win. Having the desire to win is good, but do not cost it on your health.

Big Day Tips

Before going for your big day marathon make sure you have proper shoes and comfortable clothes which would not make your trip. Please do not take any risk by trying anything new on your big day it might cost you your win.

marathon training plan

Before The Race:

  • Hydrate your body well before the race for few weeks so that you do not exhaust yourself halfway due to dehydration.
  • Few hours before the race, make sure you have a simple high-carbohydrate breakfast. Some examples of a perfect breakfast before your marathon are Bagels, oatmeal, bars, and fruits.
  • Apply Vaseline or any other body gel or lotion to the parts where you scratch the most to avoid any redness or rashes during the race.
  • Be there at the starting line as early as you can so that you can avoid being stuck in the crowd and struggle for your favorite position.
  • The temperature always rises while you are running so do not wear many clothes. If the weather is very cold then wear a baggy cloth over your running clothes and remove it when you feel that the weather is suitable and the temperature has increased for you.
  • If you have a habit of running with music the very first thing is to make sure that personal music is allowed in this marathon or not.
  • Running with headphones on can be very dangerous, so better avoid wearing them. But if you still want to then make sure your volume is not much loud so that you can hear the voices around.

During The Race:

  • Give your marathon a slow start. The biggest mistake and reason for losing a runner is giving your marathon a speedy start.
  • You have a long way to go in which you will get tons of chances to cover up and win but if you give a speedy start to your marathon then you might end up exhausted and losing.
  • Do not waste your time on drinking stations. Either practice drinking water while running or spare a few seconds at few stops while running.
  • Make sure you do not get stuck in bathroom lines and lose your time. Better control and stop where the bathroom line is not too long.
  • Enjoy your running and feel the vibe of spectators. Anything did with full enjoyment, and your full effort always provides you with a perfect result.

Best Marathon Training Plans to Consider for Training:

  • FIRST’s Run Less, Run Faster.
  • Jeff Galloway’s Marathon – You Can Do It!
  • Hanson’s Marathon Method.
  • Hal Higdon’s Ultimate Training Guide.
  • Jack Daniels’ Running Formula.
  • Pfitzinger’s Advanced Marathoning.
  • Waitz’s Run your first marathon.

To give your marathon career a boost, make sure you apply to run in Boston Marathon. Proper sleep, a balanced diet, and a proper check of injuries are the key to a perfect marathon training plan.

marathon training plan

To know more about marathon training plans, ping here!!

Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.


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